Saturday, October 2, 2021

Have a Cup of Coffee after School in the Fantasy World Café V3 (1 of 6)


Translator: Skythewood

Editor: Hiiro

I heard an explosion and my shoulders shuddered in reflex, and the glass I was wiping slipped from my hand.


I reached for it, but it slipped past my fingers.

The glass I failed to save was sucked towards the floor in slow motion. It hit the floor with a crack, and the glass shattered in shards.

「Oh my. Yu-kun, are you hurt?」

Gramps Goru seated at the bar counter asked with his palm still supporting his cheek.

「I’m fine, what was that explosion just now?」

「No idea.」

Gramps Goru yawned disinterestedly.

That explosion could be heard throughout the city, but he didn’t even bat a brow.

「Isn’t an explosion in the city a serious matter?」

When he heard that, Gramps Goru said with a wave of his hand:

「Explosions are a trivial matter that can be settled quickly. If you get worked up every time, you will tire yourself out.」

Hmm, so there were explosions happening every now and then in this world.

I came to this fantasy world out of the blue a few years ago. The residents and culture were very different from the standards I knew.

I was running a Café, but there were times when my conversation with my customer didn’t make sense. And I got treated like a weirdo for it.

I almost accepted Gramps Goru’s words… but that was bullshit!

「Things wouldn’t normally explode, have you been living a life surrounded by dangerous explosives?」

There was incredible magic technology in this world, but there shouldn’t be frequent explosions.

I took out a broom and dustpan from the storeroom, then carefully swept up the broken glass from the floor. No matter how common magic was, it couldn’t recover a broken glass. A drinking glass was rather expensive, so who should I bill this to? I wanted to complain to the culprit who caused the explosion.

And I had never heard an explosion so loud before, what happened? It wasn’t an explosion to demolish a skyscraper, so I couldn’t imagine the reason for it.

「Ughh, I’m worried.」

「It’s nothing major if it’s just that loud.」

Gramps Goru lazily replied to my mumbling.

He maintained his posture by supporting his cheek with his hand, then dug his ear with his pinkie finger and blew at it. Each of his movements gave off the feeling of boredom.

Gramps Goru liked unexpected events, and would go and watch excitedly if there was an explosion disrupting the peace in this city.

So what was going on here?

He said explosions always happen, slumped into his chair and dug his ear! I even suspect he was an imposter.

「…… You seemed lethargic.」

「I have been so busy that I’m dying. Everyone says you will lose your mental energy when you get older, so it’s true.」

I didn’t know how old Gramps Goru actually was, but he only realized this now? He didn’t notice before?

「You are mentally exhausted, but still came here so early in the morning, during my off day.」

The shop was closed on my off day, but Gramps Goru didn’t care.

「I don’t have any other place where I can rest properly. Yu-kun, you won’t use the reason that the shop is closed today to chase a pitiful old man like me away, right……?」

Gramps Goru held his palms together before him, looking at me as if he was praying. There were tears in his eyes under his white brows, and in a word, it looked disgusting.

「I won’t say that, so can you cut that act now?」

「What, and I’m pleading with you so cutely.」

「I didn’t ask for that.」

It was my fault for doubting him, this was definitely Gramps Goru.

I sighed and looked out the window.

Everything was the same as always, I could see the people walking on the streets. If I had to point out what was different, there was a bigger crowd than usual.

The city has gotten crowded in recent times. I wasn’t sure if there were more adventurers or just more people out shopping in the streets. Whichever it was, there were lots of people, just like downtown during the weekends.

Part of the crowd would stop at a certain spot, look up in the same direction and point that way.

Bothered by the situation that was obviously out of the norm, I walked swiftly out of the shop, thinking it was related to that explosion just now.

The streets were bustling, and the noises from all around flooded towards my ears. People were discussing noisily all around, and I couldn’t filter out what they were saying.

I stopped listening and looked up in the same direction as they were doing.


Just one look was enough to understand why everyone was so worked up.

A building in the distance was billowing out smoke, which floated up into the clear summer sky. Was something burning?

I focused on that area, but so many buildings were in the way that I couldn’t confirm which one was on fire.

That seemed to be the city centre. All sorts of facilities could be found in the city centre, such as the government office, police station and the School of Wizardry.

The sound of explosion and smoke. I felt worried when I realized it happened near the academy, since I had many acquaintances from the academy.

I thought about heading to the academy to check the situation, but hesitated when I saw the streets getting more crowded.

The crowd probably came from the shops and inns because they were concerned by the commotion. The population density was continuing to increase. I didn’t have the courage to wade through the human wall, so I gave up and returned to the shop.

「Something happened, there’s smoke in the city centre.」

I reported to Gramps Goru, but he was still slumping over the bar counter, not moving.

「I see, so the city centre, huh. Then it’s fine.」

「You’re still saying that. There had been an explosion and smoke billowing, you know? It might be a dangerous situation like a fire.」

When he heard my anxious words, Gramps Goru remained unfazed:

「The important organizations are all in the city centre, so their emergency planning is solid. The buildings had anti-fire engravings and magic barriers, and lots of outstanding staff. Things like a fire will be dealt with in no time.」

「Oh, I see.」

Gramps Goru said calmly, and my emotions cooled down, and my worries faded away. Was this what old men strength meant? I wanted to be like that too.

「Don’t worry, someone will notify immediately if anything major happens. This level of commotion is just right as a rehearsal for the Songstress’ visit.」

I wondered just who Gramps Goru was, if the city would contact him if anything serious happened. At the same time, I asked about the unfamiliar term.

「What’s a Songstress?」

When I asked that, Gramps Goru opened one eye and said:

「Yu-kun is unfamiliar with social matters as always. This news is the talk of the town.」

「Is that so, I have been busy.」

My Café was usually deserted, but recently, I have gotten more customers. I was the only one working here, and with the increase in patronage, I was overwhelmed. And so, I didn’t have the time to chat with the regulars.

「So, what’s a Songstress?」

「It literally means what the name says. There are five Songstress in this country, and two of them will be coming to this city.」

This was the first time I heard of a Songstress. If the Songstress is coming to this city, that is something like an idol touring around and holding concerts.

「They are the most veteran Songstress and the newest Songstress, which piqued the interest of the masses. You can tell the drastic increase of people in this city, right?」

「Oh, I was just thinking the city is getting more crowded, so they are here to see them. So, when are they coming?」

「Around three months later.」

I had no words.

「…… It is still three months away, and they are already here?」

「That’s how popular a Songstress is, the rich and noble would send people from all over the place to book the best hotels from now until the actual visit. And the people in this city will rent the cheap inns and let it out at a high price closer to the date.」

「Oh, I get it now.」

It sounds amazing just from hearing that, so they weren’t the run of the mill idol I was imagining. The words “National Songstress” flashed brightly across my mind.

「The people would flood in from other places to see the Songstress, and will inevitably cause some commotion, so things will get busy for a while. Yu-kun, it’s fine to enjoy the event, but do pay attention to your surroundings too.」

「That’s like a festival……」

So it wasn’t my imagination that the city crowd had gotten denser, they were tourists here to see the Songstress.

It was so crowded three months before the Songstress’ visit, I couldn’t imagine how it would be on the actual day itself.

I recalled something and looked up at the ceiling.

This Café was refurbished from an old bar, there were a few empty rooms on the second floor for people drunk and unconscious to stay in. If I rent those rooms out during the Songstress’ visit, I could get a tidy income……

「No, never mind.」

Starting a business in an area you weren’t familiar with would lead to terrible results. I shouldn’t be too greedy and be more conservative. I was already overwhelmed by my business, and nothing good would happen if I forced the issue.

At this moment, the door chimed, notifying me of a guest. It was Gramps Goru’s secretary, she was in her usual sharp suit, and had graceful demeanors. It was already summer but she didn’t look as if she had stepped outside at all.

Ms Secretary nodded my way, approached Gramps Goru, then hid her mouth behind her hand as she whispered to Gramps Goru’s ear to report something.

When he heard that, Gramps Goru raised his eyebrows, then stood up forcefully, strong enough to send any chair flying.

「What! I can’t just stay here!」

He then rushed out, pulling the door roughly. The chime rang noisily.

「…… Something happened?」

It was unusual seeing Gramps Goru panicking so much, and I couldn’t help asking Ms Secretary.

Ms Secretary concurred with a nod and then continued: 「There was a mana explosion in the academy.」

「Mana explosion?」

I had never heard this word combination before, but it sounded dangerous.

「Are things fine?」

Ms Secretary nodded and said: 「Yes, a school building was blown up, but no one is injured.」

「Oh, a school building.」 I almost nodded in relief, but snapped back: 「No, a building blowing up isn’t okay!」

I was relieved that there were no casualties, but I couldn’t calm down when I heard a school building had been blown up.

In contrast with my panicking behaviour, Ms Secretary continued as usual:

「The debris from the explosion damaged the neighbouring buildings, but the magic barrier on campus protected the area outside the academy.」 She thought, then added: 「Yes, it’s okay.」

I-I see, so it’s fine.

I stared at Ms Secretary, and she looked back and asked: 「Any other questions?」

Be it an explosion or a school building getting blown up, nothing could faze her.

Speaking of which, I remembered heading to the home of the mafia boss Corleone-san with her. She didn’t look afraid at all, and even seemed to enjoy it.

Was there anything that could make Ms Secretary flustered? I wondered if she had nerves of steel.

I should be looking up to Ms Secretary as a role model, instead of Gramps Goru.

To end it off, I carefully wiped down the bar counter before taking a break. I surveyed the shop with my hands on my hips.

At a glance, there wasn’t anything obviously different in the shop. I didn’t change anything or waxed the floor. However, I could still feel a sense of satisfaction after cleaning up the shop.

My recent busy lifestyle shaved mercilessly away at my stamina. After running the shop for the whole day, I would usually feel exhausted.

That was why I had been cutting corners with my clean up. Being a little lazy every day would lead to dust building up in the corner, and stubborn stains.

That was why I would clean up properly during the scheduled days off. If I didn’t spend a day cleaning up, the shop would deteriorate into an unbearable state.

I cleaned the bucket and rag and hung them up to dry, then sat at the bar counter.

Cleaning was manual labour, and I had been cleaning since noon, and felt a comfortable fatigue in my body.

I looked out the window as I took a breather, and realized the sun was already setting. The evening came later during the summer.

It was time to decide what to have for dinner. I was hungry, but my body still felt heavy after cleaning up the shop, making me reluctant to stand up.

It was troublesome to start cooking, so I thought about settling dinner at a stall nearby.

But I remembered what Gramps Goru said in the morning, so the restaurants must be crowded right now. I wasn’t hungry enough to brave the crowd and queue for food, and this warm season dissuaded me even further.

The shop was cool and comfortable because of a stone containing magic acting like an air conditioner. Could I leave that behind, then join the crowd filled with heat and people? No, I couldn’t.

I gave up and laid onto the bar counter, feeling the comfortable coolness of the table with my cheek.

Because of my accumulated fatigue, I dozed off without realizing it.

The chime rang and I got up immediately. Half awake, I almost said we were closed before realizing that it was Linaria.

「Is your school fine?」

That had been worrying me.

「You’re well informed.」

Linaria seemed surprised by the question out of left field, then answered with an awkward smile:

「Professor Muller’s experiment failed again. Not just the classroom, the entire building got blown up.」

Linaria wasn’t hurt and seemed lively. Ms Secretary already said there was no casualties, but I couldn’t help worrying before seeing for myself. I could finally feel relieved.

That explosion was caused by an academy staff, and wasn’t a criminal incident. I heard Professor Muller’s name before. What kind of experiment could blow up a school building……?

I finally noticed what Linaria was holding in her hand. It was a large old luggage case.

「Why are you lugging that with you?」

I pointed to the luggage case, and Linaria said with a stiff smile:

「Because it is dangerous, I got chased out.」

「You got chased out of the dormitory?」

「Not just the dormitory, I got chased out of the campus.」

What did she mean?

Reading my expression, Linaria explained:

「The research building exploded, and the dormitory got heavily damaged too. The school said the stuff in the research building and basement might be affected by the explosion, so to be safe, they evacuated all the students, so I can’t go back in the meantime.」

She called them stuff, but the things seemed really incredible.

「……I can understand the rationale of the academy. The School of Wizardry also function as a research lab, and stored all sorts of things, such as the products of the Labyrinth.」

「Is that dangerous?」

Linaria didn’t answer and just shrugged. I realized the gist of things after hearing about the situation. Sigh, this was a city where a Labyrinth with vicious monsters roamed, so complete safety was impossible.

Anyway, I learned that the academy contained dangerous things which required all the students to evacuate in an emergency.

「Now that you have been chased out, what are you going to do?」

Linaria was suddenly chased out of the dormitory she was living in. It would be hard for her to just roll with it and happily find another place to stay.

When she heard my question, Linaria showed me her luggage box.

「I bought my daily necessities with me, and would stay in a cheap inn nearby for now. The school said they would pay for it.」

She said casually.

「Anyway, I’m going to look for a place to stay, and is just dropping by.」

She then said 「I will come back after finding an inn」 and left the shop.

I felt relieved that she wasn’t hurt. I watched Linaria go and remembered something.

Gramps Goru said that many people booked an inn room in preparation for the Songstress’ visit.

…… Would Linaria be fine?

When I was worried about something, I couldn’t help but focus on it. I couldn’t rest easily in my room, so I waited at the bar counter for now.

I hope my worries were for naught.

It was getting late, and I was wondering whether Linaria had found some lodging and that it was almost time for bed when she returned to the shop. Seeing how crestfallen she was, I knew that my worries had come true.

She put down the heavy luggage box without a word, then sat heavily beside me.

「Didn’t find any?」

I asked timidly. I already knew the answer.

「That’s right, all the better rooms had been booked, that can’t be right.」

「No, think about it, the Songstress is coming, right?」

I figured that was the reason why the inns were full. Linaria shook her head and said:

「They will only come three months later. There is an increase in the number of guests, but it can’t be all full. There are plenty of inns here.」

「Now that you mentioned it, that is true. So what’s the reason?」

「It’s because of this.」

Linaria unhappily tugged at her uniform.

「The staff said there are open rooms at the start, but when I asked them to send the bill to the School of Wizardry, they will suddenly say they are full and reject me.」

「Why is that?」

「Because it might be troublesome if students who are usually nobles stayed at their place. Or maybe they couldn’t jack up the price if they send the bill to the academy? There are some who reject me after seeing my uniform.」

Linaria gave a big sigh. She must have searched the entire city for an inn, so it was only natural for her to feel so down since they all turned her down.

The clientele for cheap inns was more complicated, especially the ones from out of town. It was obvious that the inns would be worried about trouble if anything happens.

Some inns close one eye and try to make a killing off a noble daughter. However, they would back off when they learned they needed to bill it to the academy. It was scary to be marked by the academy for jacking up prices.

So claiming to be fully booked was the safer option here.

「That sounds rough.」

「Yes, even though I’m just a commoner.」

「How about giving up on cheap inns and choosing a normal hotel? Or splurge in a high class hotel? The school’s paying anyway.」

After saying that, Linaria glared at me and said:

「…… What if the school summons me after I splurged? I’m living on a scholarship grant here.」

「Right, my bad, I was just shooting my mouth.」


「What about a normal hotel?」

「Right, but I don’t think there is much of a chance.」

Linaria nursed her temple and leaned against the chair.

From the logic just now, the chances of rejection would remain the same even if she went to a more expensive lodging.

To the commoners in this world, nobles were an existence they didn’t want to get involved with. Who knew what might happen if they breached some etiquette. The world had a biased view of treating them like fragile explosives.

And the crowd would be getting larger in the future. Compared to the guests that might cause trouble, it would be safer to rent the rooms out to commoners coming from out of town.

Even so, Linaria still braved the crowds in low spirits, searching for an inn that would take her in.

I looked at Linaria who was slumped in her seat, and wondered whether to raise this suggestion.

When I was waiting for Linaria, I mulled over this idea.

It was a little silly, might cause some issues, and took some courage to say it. But when I saw the exhausted Linaria who couldn’t find an inn despite the late hour, all those matters seemed trivial.

「Erm, Linaria.」

「What is it?」

「I thought about something when you went off to search for an inn.」

I pointed above me.

「Want to live in my house? I have an empty room here.」

When she heard that, Linaria stared at me stiffly.

Her lips under her high nose parted slightly, and her pretty brows scowled into a knot, and her cheeks turned bright red.

「W-What are you saying dummy you are talking nonsense!」

Linaria bellowed loud enough to echo in the shop, then smacked the bar counter.

「What do you mean there is an empty room this is your house you have no common sense!」

Smack smack smack.

「And you know I feel trouble when you say such strange things you need to be more aware really now put yourself in my shoes!」

Smack smack smack.

「…… Huff, puff.」


Linaria took deep breaths to steady her breathing, and her hand smacking the bar counter also calmed down.

I would nod at her every word.

「Are you going out to find an inn now?」


Linaria was at a loss for words. It was already dark outside, and all the tourists were looking for a place to stay. For the inns, now was the busiest period. With plenty of customers coming, it was difficult to find an inn willing to let a student who was likely to be a noble to stay. And Linaria also understood that.

「This place used to be a bar, so there are rooms for drunk patrons to stay in. Which means, this is an inn. The second level of the Café can be operated as an inn too.」


「If you move in now, I will include three complimentary meals a day.」


The thing that moved her the most was the complimentary meals.

Linaria glared at the bar counter with a red face and made a low growl. I could almost see her complicated feelings swirling in her mind.

This was a sudden proposal after all, so it was only natural for her to feel troubled. I didn’t push her and waited quietly for an answer. However, my heart was a little noisy, and what I said did fluster myself a little.

Linaria glanced my way and said in a weak voice:

「Can I really stay here? Won’t my sudden visit disturb you?」

「Not at all.」

It shouldn’t be too long before the campus eviction order would end.

They wouldn’t shut the school down for months.

「…… You won’t do anything to me, right?」

「Definitely no!」

I smacked the bar counter and denied it strongly. My heart would race if someone asked me that with a blushed face, so I hope she wouldn’t do that.

Linaria was hesitant to speak, holding her left index finger with her right hand, agonizing over the matter.

She then turned to me timidly and bowed deeply, her long vermillion ponytail sliding off her shoulder.

「Well, erm, I will be in your care for this Summer vacation.」

「Yes, I will be in your care too.」

I was relieved that Linaria accepted my proposal.

Just the thought of living under the same roof filled me with excitement. And it would leave a bad taste in my mouth if I ignored an acquaintance in need.

I just needed to suppress my nervousness, and rent out the extra room on the second floor for a few days… Hmm?

Huh? What did Linaria just say?

Summer vacation?

…… Huh, Summer vacation?

「The academy has a Summer vacation?」

My voice turned shrill as I asked.

Linaria looked at me bafflingly:

「Summer vacation started three days ago……?」

「What about the students in the academy?」

「Almost all of them had went home.」

Oh, I see now, so there weren’t many students, so no one got hurt even though there was an explosion. And they could close up the school since it was Summer vacation.

Eh, wait.

Which meant, the academy might not rush to repair the dormitory, since the students were on summer vacation.

And so, before the dormitory was fixed, Linaria might spend the entire summer at my place.

So it was obvious that Linaria would be flustered!

Me too!

I didn’t know it was for so long, and was a little hesitant. However, I couldn’t tell her to reconsider now.

W-What should I do……

—— These series of events led to the start of my summer with Linaria.

Chapter 1: May Your Meeting Ease the Yearning of the Heart


I wasn’t a morning person. When I was schooling in the past, I had to struggle when I left my bed in the morning, and would change while I slept on the day after burning the midnight oil.

But now, I would get out of bed when the sun rose, swiftly change my clothes and get to work early in the morning, an impressive growth. I was surprised by my own disciplined lifestyle.

There wasn’t any television, handheld game consoles, mobile phones or computers in this world after all. I couldn’t understand the words in this world, so I couldn’t read any books. Hence, I didn’t have any reason to stay up late.

Since I started working in the morning, I would naturally feel tired by night time.

With no other entertainment, my only option was to sleep. I slept immediately after lying down in bed, and woke up naturally in the morning.

I experienced the saying 「It’s pointless to change one’s thinking, it’s the environment that should be changed.」 Instead of making up your mind to do something, you could make it a habit by putting yourself in an environment where you had no choice but to do so.

However, I didn’t sleep well last night.

The reason was simple. Because Linaria was staying in my house, specifically, in the room opposite mine.

I was a healthy teenage boy, and couldn’t keep calm with a cute girl living in the same house as me.

I turned and twisted on my bed last night, and listened carefully in the silent room.

After troubling for a while, I finally realized I was so fazed because this was my house. I just needed to think of ourselves as tenants living in the same rental apartment, instead of a man and a woman living in the same house.

Which was to say, I was staying in Room 201, and Linaria was staying in Room 202. We were in the same building, but our rooms were completely separate. This was wonderful, there wasn’t any need to feel troubled.

So I finally fell asleep, but for a shorter time than usual.

Even if I slept later, I still got up at the same time, this was the power of habit.

I stifled a yawn and prepared to open the shop when I heard someone walking down the stairs. My hands quivered, breaking my rhythm in cutting vegetables.

The footsteps went in the opposite direction from here. I could hear water, so she might be washing her face.

「Why do I need to eavesdrop?」

It was troubling how this disrupted my pace. I took a deep breath and continued cutting the vegetables. Some had been cut unevenly, but I paid it no mind.

After I finished cutting, someone said to me:

「…… Erm, Good Morning.」

I turned back and saw Linaria looking in from the entrance to the residential area.

I already sensed her arrival from the footsteps, but still answered as if I just noticed her:

「Good Morning, Linaria. Did you sleep well?」

「Yes, I slept well, piece of cake.」

「I see, that’s great.」

「What about you?」


「Did you sleep well?」

「Haha, of course, I slept better than usual.」

「I see, good.」

Why were we competing?

Linaria still leaned the top half of her body from the entrance and peeked at me. I cut the vegetables further, even though that wasn’t my plan.

I was feeling bashful, and couldn’t stop moving or looking straight at Linaria.

「How would you like to settle breakfast?」

The silence right now was more awkward than usual, so I immediately found a topic.

「Do you always eat at this timing?」

「No, I usually eat later.」

「Then I will eat later. I will study a little before breakfast.」

She was studying so early in the morning!

How studious. I had never studied before breakfast before, so Linaria looked like someone from a different world to me.

「I will call you when breakfast is ready.」

「Yes, thank you.」

After ending this awkward conversation, Linaria went back to the second floor. I looked at the vegetables that had been shredded and sighed deeply.

Would this continue for the entire vacation? My heart was a mess, my breathing haggard, and sweat rolling down my back. Would I need to spend my days like this? I felt uneasy.

I had no idea if I could adapt to this brand new environment.

I would just tire myself out by worrying about things I didn’t know, and decided to table the matter and prepared to open the shop. The cooking preparation had increased, and needed more time.

In the past, this shop was barely kept afloat, so this was a kind of happy problem. I wasn’t used to doing a lot of prep work, and couldn’t get into a rhythm. I stopped after making a vague decision that this was enough.

I put the diced vegetables into the fridge and took out the ingredients for breakfast.

After putting all the ingredients in the kitchen, I started cooking.

That might be so, but I didn’t have time to cook breakfast, and decided to go with something simple and trendy, Crêpe. It was too trendy for me, which was really scary.

Crêpe was fashionable, delicious, had simple ingredients and easy to make.

I added flour into a large bowl, stirred in sugar and salt, then added fresh eggs and milk. The ingredients in this world were very fresh and had a strong taste. I could buy fresh eggs and milk just by shopping outside. If the ingredients were good, then even simple dishes would taste great.

The milk mixed with the flour and turned into sticky dough. I could feel a lot of resistance while mixing it, which meant it was time to work hard. I continued adding milk bit by bit and kneaded carefully until all the powdery bits were gone.

I melted butter in a pan and poured it into the dough. There was no doubt that milk, eggs and butter would complement each other well.

After the dough turned a beautiful yellow, I covered the bowl with a cloth to let the dough rest, then worked on the other ingredients.

Speaking of Crêpe, one would think of whipped cream. But there wasn’t easily available whipped cream in this world.

Whipped cream came from fresh cream, so where did fresh cream come from? It was made by putting milk in a centrifugal separator. Did this world have centrifugal separators?


Because of the incredible technology known as magic, it probably could be made with some effort, but this wouldn’t be a simple breakfast, but a revolutionary product.

I wasn’t that keen on eating cream and gave up on it.

What should I do then? At times like this, I should rely on fresh ingredients after all.

Fortunately, many sweet ingredients were sold here. There was a Labyrinth in this city, with an endless supply of fruits and sugar.

Fruits as sweet as ripe mangoes, as refreshing as pear and so forth. I could buy them easily at the stalls and make them into jam.

After cutting up a fruit palette, I put the jam into small plates. That was enough to make this breakfast look lavish.

And now, I just needed to make the Crêpe pancake. I heated the pan with medium heat, applied a thin layer of oil, added a scoop of pancake mix and spread it out. The pancake was thicker than I wanted, and wasn’t like the thin Crêpe sold in shops. However, the alluring fragrance was just as appetizing.

The edge of the pancake mix started bulging, so I slid a spatula under the pancake, shook a little to make sure it wasn’t stuck to the pan, then flipped it over. The pancake was well cooked, and I felt proud about it.

After cooking the other side for a while, I plated it and started on the next piece.

I just needed to keep making pancakes. I wasn’t familiar with it, so the pancakes differed in thickness. I learned from the mistakes of each slice and used up all the pancake mix.

I immersed myself in satisfaction as I looked at the pile of pancakes, and found Linaria had come downstairs.

「It smells familiar, so it really is Pochi pancakes. It’s been a while since I last had one.」

「Pochi pancakes?」

What was that?

It sounded like a combination of a pet’s name and a foreign dessert.

「Everyone calls it Pochi pancakes, but it’s called Pucan pancakes here. I made it often in the orphanage.」

That was the first time I heard these two names, so there were Crêpe in this world too. It was known by a different name, and seemed popular here too.

Linaria had a nostalgic smile, and came to the bar counter with springy steps.

「Where will we be eating this? At the dining table?」

I pondered her question for a brief moment.

「Right, the dining table then. Can you help me take these over?」

「Of course.」

Linaria took the plates on the bar counter with both hands.

Right, she wasn’t a customer and didn’t need to dine at the bar counter, and I didn’t need to stand and prepare her beverage.

We could sit at the table and dine together. I had a hard to describe feeling, with a happy and warm feeling in my chest.

I hummed horribly as I prepared a Café au lait for Linaria.

It was great having a breakfast buddy. It had been so long that I forgot how it felt.

Everyone had their habits.

The time to sleep, the time to wake, a fixed breakfast menu, wearing shoes on a certain feet first, the order of how you clean when showering, and so forth.

Your body would surrender to habit before you realized it, and fortunately, there were people who made a habit of visiting this shop.

For example a young adventurer who dropped by for a light meal in the morning before diving into the Labyrinth.

Elf nee-san visiting with a thick book.

The old dwarf who laid out a cloth and minerals on a table to appraise them.

These regulars spent a fixed amount of time here.

Some of my small habits were formed to accommodate this timing—— that customer should be here soon, so I should prepare that dish and so on. This was a small service only possible because I didn’t have many customers.

However, I haven't been able to do so recently.

I learned the reason through Gramps Goru. Tourists were coming to see the upcoming Songstress performances, and the crowd also came to my shop.

Thanks to them, I have been really busy.

Tourists were curious beings, and I could understand their wish to experience something exotic since they came all this way to visit.

However, I never thought that my shop would be categorized as exotic.

From the perspective of the people in this world, my cooking and Coffee might seem strange. Normally, people would hesitate to visit because this place was weird, but their attitude did a 180 now.

The tourist came to a city they normally wouldn’t visit, a place that depended completely on the Labyrinth, so their thinking would become more open.

By staying in the new environment known as the Labyrinth city, they could break the habit they had built over the years.

And with the upcoming major event of the Songstress’ performance, they became more excited and eagerly explored the city. When they find my shop some distance away from the main road, they would come in with an intrigued heart.

This was a cause for celebration, since I would have a chance to let so many people know the charm of Coffee. But sadly, with me being the only staff, I was overwhelmed by the larger than expected crowd.

「Shopkeep, give me this Iced Coffee thing! It’s bitter, but tasty.」

「It’s really hot outside, so this cold beverage is great.」

「That’s right, my son has been complaining how hot it is——」

「Bro, is my hot pressed sandwich done yet?」

「Hello, do you have seats for the two of us?」

「Bill please——」

「Uwah, this shop has a good atmosphere about it, what kind of shop is this? A bar?」

「This is a Café, Jed recommended this place to me.」

The shop was crowded and noisy, and I was having a hard time.

The ever increasing orders, cooking and billing tired me out, there were more customers than yesterday.

This shop used to be a bar and was quite spacious. There were more customers than usual, but there was still space left.

There were open seats, but I only had two hands and one Vacuum Coffee maker. When I judged that I couldn’t serve more customers, I would turn away the guests. Even so, there would be some who chose to wait and queued at the entrance. And so, it wasn’t my intention, but I got the honorary title of a shop with a line outside.

But I didn’t feel happy about that at all, and the term 「it’s so darn busy」 kept flashing across my mind.

「I would like to order.」

A voice came from one of the tables, but the shop was too loud for me to know which one it was. And my hands were full with the freshly made dishes, so I couldn’t attend to them either. I felt like crying.

At this moment, a red figure walked across the shop and headed to the seat at the back.

「Yes, erm, may I take your order?」

It was Linaria. She had taken off her jacket, and was wearing a white blouse with a small notepad in hand.

She wrote down the order, bowed, then walked to me as I stood stiffly in place.

「Take it, they want a hot pressed sandwich salad set meal and an iced Coffee.」

She said as she handed me a note. When she saw that my hands were full, she folded it and stuffed it in my apron pocket. I couldn’t respond and stared at Linaria’s face.


「No, it’s just that……」

The words were stuck in my chest, and I thought it might skip past my mouth and spill out of my eyes instead.

「You’re too busy, so I can, erm, help if it’s just something simple.」

「Eh, oh, right.」

「And this? Which table should I serve it to?」

Linaria said as she bent her knees a little, and carefully took the plates off my hands.

「The two of them there……」

「Got it. I will leave the note to you then.」

Linaria smiled and served the dishes to the table. I stood there in a daze and watched her go.

「You found a nice girl, bro.」

A beast-eared old man at the counter said, and I nodded.

「My old lady was gentle like her in the past too, but she is tough on me right now. You be careful too, bro.」

I nodded again.

「By the way, is my hot pressed sandwich done yet?」

The crowd thinned out after noon. There were a few groups left, but they didn’t order frequently, and were just enjoying the relaxed atmosphere instead.

「Phew, that was tiring. It’s tough serving customers.」

Linaria sat on a chair and said with both arms hanging weakly.

「Thank you, you really helped me out there.」

「I’m just returning you the favour for letting me stay here, don’t mind it.」 She waved her hand and then continued: 「But there is a surprisingly large amount of customers.」

「True.」 I nodded: 「I feel moody just thinking about the future.」

「Why? Isn’t it great to have customers?」

「I’m happy to have customers, but my place is turning into an eatery?」

「Yes, that’s true.」

Sales had gone up proportionally with how busy I was. Today’s revenue was the highest in history. However, I hesitate to call this the operation of a Café.

「Is that a bad thing?」

I was at a loss for words when I saw Linaria’s sincere and forthright eyes.

Is this a bad thing?

The shop had always been deserted, and I would carefully brew Coffee for my few patrons, cook light meals and chat idly with them. To me, that was the daily life I was familiar with.

This only happened because my clientele here wasn’t familiar with Coffee or Café, and wasn’t intentional.

I used to wish that business would be better, and worried over the account books going into the red.

Was I the only one feeling loss about the increase in customers? Wasn’t that a good thing? I felt tired and dizzy, but felt a sense of fulfilment.

「Is this something worth troubling over? We can’t ask the customers to leave, so we just have to do our best, right?」

Linaria said nonchalantly.

「I see, it is as you say.」

I nodded in agreement.

With the Songstress’ visit looming, there would be even more people visiting this city, bringing along even more tourists. What I should be considering was how to receive these guests and what to provide them with.

In that case——

「Linaria, can you help me out? I will pay you a salary, of course.」 I put my hands together and pleaded. It was too busy for me alone, and I couldn’t find a new worker right away.

「…… I couldn’t help you for the entire day.」

「Of course, just during the busy hours.」

「If that is the case, then I can help.」

Linaria pouted a little and said:

「The salary aside, can you let me eat something? I’m really hungry.」

Speaking of which, I hadn’t prepared lunch. So I hurriedly went to the store room to get the ingredients.

It was great that Linaria was willing to help.

I rummaged through the fridge with a gleeful face. If I had a mirror, it would probably show me a silly face.

From that evening onwards, Linaria officially helped out as an official staff member.

I used the afternoon to tie down how to take the orders, and assigned numbers to the tables for easy reference.

Linaria got it right away, she was surprisingly smart, making it clear why she was a scholarship student.

She wasn’t used to the friendly attitude required in the service industry, but I had no complaints. After all, it was hard for people without experience to receive customers with a smile from the first day.

Business during the dinner hours was unexpectedly good too. There were customers who came in the afternoon visiting again with friends or acquaintances.

With so many customers, there would inevitably be issues.

For example, I had to stress again that this was a Café, and didn’t serve alcohol.

However, there were many people who drank beer in place of water, and it was normal to drink beer during a meal. With that custom in mind, first time visitors found an eatery without beer to be strange.

I had to apologize to all the customers asking if I served beer.

And my ingredients ran out faster than expected, and we needed to turn customers away.

It wasn’t because there were too many customers, we just didn’t stock enough food. I bought more food compared to a few days ago, but there were more customers than I expected today.

I turned the sign at the entrance to 「Closed for the day」 part way through the evening to stop customers from entering.

After seeing off the last customers, my body became as heavy as lead, and fatigue assaulted my entire body.

I collapsed onto one of the counter seats, but Linaria didn’t rest and started clearing the plates from the tables.

It was impossible to take care of all the details during busy hours, so there were used cutleries on the tables, the sink was filled with dirty dishes, and the floor was covered in stains and crumbs.

I surveyed the shop and sighed deeply.

I pushed my tired body to clean up the place.

「It’s frustrating how big this place is.」

「What are you saying? Come and tidy the place up.」

I was too tired to move, but Linaria didn’t look tired at all as she bustled around.

She was running around during operational hours too, where did she get so much stamina from?

「…… Aren’t you tired?」

「Of course I am, but this is nothing compared to Labyrinth practice runs.」

I see, the stamina she trained up through adventuring in the Labyrinth and fighting monsters proved useful here. I was in awe, but I didn’t have the energy to spare, and was at my limits.

「Want to rest for a while?」

I asked half pleadingly. This was the first time I spent so long cooking nonstop, and my body was as heavy as lead.

「You rest there first, I will clean up.」

Linaria said casually and started wiping the tables.

I wished I had the guts to take her up on her offer, but I was a coward and couldn’t let Linaria work alone while I dozed off.

I couldn’t adopt the attitude of a dignified employer. When I stood up thinking I should emulate Linaria and work hard, I stopped moving.

I shouldn’t carelessly tear my eyes from what I just saw.

A man was right outside the window.

His hands and face were plastered to the glass as he stared wide eyed at the shop.

I was certain he wasn’t a suspicious person.

But an evil spirit.

That must be an evil spirit.

Oh no, what should I do?

「What’s with ——」

Linaria was puzzled why I was just standing there and not moving, and turned to the direction I was facing. When she noticed that thing, her words tapered off.


I slowly looked at Linaria.

Linaria looked surprised by the evil spirit and opened her mouth wide. She then smiled brilliantly. Smile?


She sounded cheerful, nothing like the wail of someone seeing an evil spirit.

Linaria rushed out of the shop, and immediately dragged a man back in. She was smiling, but the man she called Director had an awkward smile.

「Let me introduce you, this is the Director of the Orphanage I used to stay in.」

「He isn’t an evil spirit?」

I couldn’t help saying, and Linaria said with a stupefied face:

「What evil spirit? Despite how he looks, he is still a fine priest.」

「Isn’t commenting on my looks being too mean.」

The Director said with an awkward smile.

「Nice to meet you, sorry if I spooked you. I was passing by when I saw a familiar face and couldn’t help checking.」

The Director bowed at me. His tone and demeanour were polite, and I responded hastily in kind.

「You’re too kind. Erm, I’m Yu, a friend of Linaria. The Academy is on break, so I asked her to help out my shop.」

「Oh, is that so? Is Linaria working properly? She used to be a mischievous kid.」

「Yes, she is working hard. She is still a mischievous kid though.」

We could get a first impression within five seconds of meeting someone, and get a grasp of his personality within 30 seconds. I felt I had something in common with the Director.

「Hey, can you not talk about that in front of me?」

Linaria crossed her arms and said unhappily.

「…… She often lectured me like that in the past.」

Director leaned in close and said quietly.

「Me too.」

I answered softly. The Director and I looked at each other and smiled.

I heard Linaria was separated from her parents at a young age, so the Director must be like a father to her.

「…… I’m happy to see you, but I have a feeling, I have more things to worry about.」

Linaria said with a sigh.

「So, what brings you to this city? It is a long way from the orphanage.」

When he heard what Linaria said, the Director scratched his head and said with a wry smile:

「Well, I actually went to the capital with regards to the Orphanage’s operating cost.」

「…… It’s running out again?」

「Ahaha… How embarrassing.」

Linaria’s brows drooped.

She said 「again.」 So the Orphanage’s finances had not been great in the past too.

「Is the operating cost gotten from a different channel?」

Linaria answered my question:

「It should be financed by the church, but the Director is a little……」

「A little?」

Linaria averted her eyes and was hesitant to speak.

「Simply put, I want to avoid a power struggle. I had not been on good terms with the main faction of the church, and couldn’t get sufficient financial support.」

The Director said casually.

The person before me didn’t look like the type to get involved with a political power struggle. He had gentle eyes and a cheerful air about him, and was obviously a good person. However, the wrinkles around his eyes and mouth made him look worn out and ragged.

「And so, I went to the capital to ask my acquaintances to introduce me to nobles and raise funds.」

Linaria said with a shrug:

「And it is obvious that you failed.」

「How embarrassing.」

The Director seemed depressed and had an air of sorrow around him.

「I couldn’t handle the nobles smoothly during fundraising dinners……」

He needed to host a banquet to raise funds from the nobles, running an Orphanage was tough.

「Are you alright?」

Linaria probed.

The Director forced a smile and said:

「It’s fine, I made it through just fine in the past too, so don’t worry. I have acquaintances in this city too, and he is willing to listen to me, so there will be a way.」

It was clear that he was putting on a facade. He was just trying to not make Linaria worry, and we didn’t say anything to nullify his efforts.

「Erm, I will be staying in this shop for the time being, so please drop by again.」

「Of course, part of the reason I came to this city is to see you, Linaria. I didn’t expect to meet you here instead of the school though.」

The Director waved at me and said: 「Speaking of which……」

I was wondering what he wanted to say and approached the Director, and he pulled me to a corner:

「You are Yu-kun, right? You are Linaria’s boyfriend?」

I made a weird noise because of the sudden question, something like 「Huh?」 or 「Ehh?」


「But you two are cohabitating?」

「We are not like that. The dormitory is inhabitable because of an accident, so I let her rent a room on the second floor here.」

I quickly explained, and the Director listened to me with a grin.

「I see, I see.」

He then put a hand on my shoulder and said:

「I think of Linaria like a daughter, so I will leave her in your care.」

He squeezed my shoulder hard.

「O-Of course.」

I was breaking out in cold sweat. And my shoulder really hurts.

「If you make Linaria cry…… You get it, right? God will forgive my actions.」

I nodded desperately, and the Director relaxed his grip and patted my back.

「It’s great that you’re a sensible young man, hahaha.」

「What are you two doing……」

「It’s nothing, just some guy talk.」

This person…… his character changed when his family was involved… He wasn’t the type I should make an enemy of...

I quietly pulled away from him.

After Linaria walked the Director off, she came back to the shop and sat beside me at the bar counter.

「He is a good person.」

When she heard that, Linaria smiled as if she was the one who got complimented.

「That’s right, he’s a good person and experienced lots of hardship for the sake of running the Orphanage. He is always smiling and cares for us.」

I didn’t need to ask her how much she respected the Director.

「…… Sigh, I want to ask you for a favour.」

「What is it?」

Linaria seldom said that, so it was a surprise.

「I will work hard here to help out… so can you give me an advanced salary?」

She wanted me to pay her salary in advance, and I realized why.

「You want to give it to the Director before he goes back, right?」

Linaria nodded.

「Before I got accepted into the academy, the Director told me not to worry and focus on the thing I wanted to do. I followed his instructions and studied seriously… However, I wanted to do something that I could do myself.」

「You are a really good kid.」


「Sorry, it’s nothing.」

I covered my mouth after accidentally saying my true feelings out loud.

She was a good girl, and her gentleness and consideration was too bright for my eyes,

「Of course.」

Linaria looked relieved and bowed towards me:

「Thank you.」

「No, you’re too kind. I will need your help from now on too.」

「That’s what I should be saying.」

We bowed towards each other and looked up at the same time, and couldn’t help laughing.

「What are we doing?」

「Really now.」

Laughter echoed in the shop in this late hour.

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